On May 14, as United States officials ceremoniously relocated the American Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza -- many of them members of Hamas and Iran-linked Islamic Jihad, along with other residents paid to participate -- engaged in violent demonstrations along the Gaza-Israel border fence. Dubbed the "Great March of Return," these protests were launched on March 30 and timed to crescendo six weeks later, on the day of the U.S. Embassy move, which coincided with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the state of Israel.
For weeks, rioters stormed the border, firing weapons and hurling Molotov cocktails and rocks at the Israeli soldiers who guard the area to prevent terrorist incursions into southern Israel.
The weeks of continuous rioting -- planned by Hamas as part of its admitted campaign to destroy Israel through terrorism and delegitimization -- has left dozens of Palestinians dead and hundreds wounded. The numbers were widely reported in the liberal media in Israel and abroad, and were accompanied by condemnations of Israel for its "excessive use of force" against "peaceful protesters."
Although Hamas official Salah Bardawil announced that of the 62 people "martyred," 50 were members of Hamas -- while Islamic Jihad claimed another three -- many journalists, opinion writers, international organizations and so-called human rights groups with a fixed idea about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in general and the current unrest in Gaza in particular did not let such information permeate their articles or declarations.
Those who did include the statistic downplayed the fact that Hamas was paying impoverished Gaza residents to descend on the border of a neighboring country with the purpose not only of killing or kidnapping its residents, but also to get killed or wounded by sniper fire. In so doing, Hamas would be able to accuse its neighbor of the very war crimes Hamas itself has been committing.
To this end, Hamas even sent buses to transport Gaza residents to the border they were ordered to breach, and jailed bus drivers who refused to comply. Yet there still seems to be an avoidance on the part of much of the media of seeing that the plight of the Palestinians killed and wounded in the riots is caused by Hamas itself.
As the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America (CAMERA) has documented extensively, leftist fellow travelers in the media have been accepting and propagating Hamas propaganda that the "March of Return" was a plea for Palestinian human rights. They also bought into the terrorist organization's claim that the U.S. Embassy move was the catalyst for its latest assault, which has come to include a renewed wave of rocket and mortar fire from Gaza into Israel (launched by Islamic Jihad with the full support of Hamas); attempts to infiltrate the border to kill Israelis; and mass arson, through the use of helium balloons and flaming kites (some painted with swastikas) that have succeeded so far in burning down more than 6,000 acres of Israeli farmland and nature reserves, in a country roughly the size of New Jersey.
Tellingly absent from most reportage from liberal news outlets on this "kite jihad" has been outrage on the part of environmentalists who are normally so eloquent. This blanket inaccuracy may be why U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman went on the offensive against the false coverage of the riots. During a "Press and Policy" breakfast in Jerusalem on June 4, hosted by the American news agency The Media Line, Friedman said:
"It would seem to me that in a journalistic environment where nine out of ten articles that are written about the Gaza conflict are critical of Israel, you'd think that some journalists would take the time and go and meet with experts and try to understand what could have been done differently or better before they criticize. And I just haven't seen it."
Friedman went even further, telling reporters:
"...keep your mouths shut until you figure it out. Because otherwise, all you're doing is creating impressions that have no basis in fact. They fit a narrative. They fit an opinion. They fit an agenda. But it's not reporting, because it's not based on hard, factual analysis."
What these goals are was spelled out clearly in April by Hamas political leader Yahya Sinwar. "We will take down the border [with Israel] and we will tear their hearts from their bodies," he said.
On May 13, the eve of the six-week "March of Return," a different senior Hamas official, Mahmoud Al-Zahar, told Al Jazeera: "[W]hen we talk about 'peaceful resistance,' we are deceiving the public. This is a peaceful resistance bolstered by a military force and by security agencies, and enjoying tremendous popular support."
Much of the media appears to be allowing itself to be deceived by a terrorist organization that uses the people over whom it rules as disposable cannon fodder.
As Dershowitz writes, "Many in the media are complicit in these [Palestinian] deaths, because their one-sided reporting encourages Hamas to send innocent women and children to the front line."
At this point, members of the media actually seem willing to be duped, which makes them accessories after the fact to the terrorist mission of a jihadist group.